November 8, 2012

Veteran's Day celebration draws good crowd

By Carol Mills
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Many visitors braved the cold weather Saturday to attend a Veteran’s Day celebration to honor those who served in the military to preserve American freedom.

The young and old were waving flags as veterans, JROTC of South and North Laurel high schools, military vehicles, Shriner’s cars, motorcycles, and antique vehicles paraded through downtown London.

Judge-Executive David Westerfield said the turnout was good and the event a success. “People were lined up and down Main Street for the parade,” he said. “There were a lot.”

Many of the visitors to the celebration were veterans or had veteran family members.

Wilma Minton’s brother, John Crawford, served two tours in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

“I brought him last year, but he passed away,” Minton said sadly. “People don’t know how much they sacrificed.”

Carmon Brewer attended the event with his wife, Mary.

“I was in the service from April ‘69 to February ‘70,” Carmon Brewer said.

Kevin Garry said he came to the celebration to honor the veterans.

Three members of Charlene Parker’s family were in the service.

“My dad, Earl Rudder, was in the Navy in the Korean War for four years,” she said. “My brother, Charles Rudder Sr., was in the Navy for two years. My cousin, Bobby Sims, was killed in service.”

Paula Bush’s husband, William Lee Bush Sr., was in the U.S. Navy for four years.

“He recently passed away,” she said, holding back tears. “He went in in 1961. He was a medic and was stationed in Norfolk, Va., most of the time.”

Debra Parra said she attended the event because her stepfather was in Vietnam and her daughter, Mariana, is in JROTC.

The celebrations began at the Laurel County Courthouse with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance, followed by a POW/MIA service, flag folding and patriotic music. After the parade, a fish fry, which included hush puppies, french fries, coleslaw, baked beans, soft drinks, and desserts, was held at the American Legion Post 16.